The festival this year feels VERY different. Different students, different keynotes, different weather and a lot more familiar. This time around we seem to know more people – it’s more about seeing friends and clients and re-establishing links to strengthen relationships.
The Hackney – Austin links are now official and although we aren’t in the borough our potential to be involved is huge. In mid-June Austin will hit London, on the back of their NME sponsorship and twin cities deal.
3D printers are everywhere – and we already have conversations starting about partnerships in that area.
Brands at SXSW are always ‘a thing’. Most notable is PayPal, with an excellent lounge including a real store where you can buy items for $0.01 and the launch of their app which you can use to pay for products in real life, such as coffee. Not so clever was a huge loo roll brand which tried the hashtag #letstalkbums. Another winner was Samsung with a great Bloggers Lounge and replacement batteries for Samsung users. Batteries dying is still a massive issue for the brand. The SXSW app crashed my phone and I’ve had to delete it, which isn’t particularly inspiring for a digital event like SXSW.
Most noticeable was the number of Google glass wearers this year, alongside a Canadian couple with 3D printed FAKE Google glass – called Frugal Glass.
Also different to last year was the crossover with Film/Music/Interactive. You’re able to attend sessions outside your badge and we were lucky enough to see Jeff Tambor’s acting workshop. This was a master class, not only in comedy acting but how to keep an audience rapt.